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David James Elliott
In this hilarious tweaking of the fairy tale, "The Princess and the Pea", Queen Aggravain has ruled that none may marry until her son, Prince Dauntless marries. However, she has managed to sabotage every princess that come along. When Sir Harry and Lady Larken learn that they are going to be parents, wed or not, he goes off to the swamps and brings back Princess Winnifred ("Fred" to her friends). The queen is horrified and immediately begins to scheme, but Winnifred, with some help from Sir Harry, the King, and the Jester, isn't going to be quite so easy to get rid of. Written by
During the Happily Ever After number, Princess Fred gets up on the table and kicks off the books stacked there but when we look down a few seconds later the stack she just kicked off on the right side of the table as we face it has returned. See more »
I barely remember the 1972 television version of this, so it's probably unfair to say that one was better. But my impression is it was better, simply because Burnette played Winnifred. This is not to say Tracey Ullman was bad. Ullman is tremendously talented and she does a good job, but she was too restrained in the part. Burnette perfectly captured the world's least appropriate princess, but Ullman actually comes across as fairly sweet and gentle, at most mildly eccentric and occasionally slightly loud. It doesn't help that Burnette cannot completely contain her inherent wackiness; the play feels as though it should be a contrast between a cold, imperious queen and a wild, tomboyish princess, but the distance between Ullman and Burnette doesn't seem that great.
Still, it's a fun musical with many amusing moments and a good cast. And who knows, maybe if I saw that 1972 version I'd say, this isn't nearly as good as I remember.
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